Thursday, August 30, 2007

USAID Rule Changes Postponed

An e-mail update from the Global Health Council. . .

-----Original Message-----

From: Global Health Council
[e-mail addresses redacted]
Subj: Update: USAID Proposed Rule Changes
Date: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:48 pm

August 30, 2007
Global Health Council Opposes Implementation of USAID's Proposed Partner Vetting System

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced Aug. 28 that it has delayed plans to implement a sweeping information-gathering and recordkeeping measure originally called the Partner Vetting System (PVS). The measure, which was to take effect on Aug. 27, has been postponed pending further comment from affected organizations and review by USAID.

The comment period has been extended until Sept. 21, 2007. Many Council members have voiced opposition to PVS and the Council recommends that communication to USAID on this issue continue. The Council strongly encourages members to contact both USAID and their members of Congress in opposition to the proposed change.

The PVS, which is now being referred to within USAID as the Anti-Terror Vetting System, would vet individuals, officers or other officials of nongovernmental organizations who apply for USAID contracts, grants, cooperative agreements or other funding, or who apply for registration with USAID as Private and Voluntary Organizations (PVOs).

If implemented, the PVS would require all organizations that apply for USAID contracts, grants and cooperative agreements to submit detailed information about directors, officers and affected employees, including full name, date and place of birth, government issued identification information, address, phone and fax numbers, country of origin and/or nationality, citizenship, gender and profession.

The rule change was issued to ensure that USAID funds are not being used to support activities or individuals "associated with terrorism." Although there is no evidence that USAID funds are supporting terrorist organizations or terrorist activities through USAID partners, the proposal was advanced, according to USAID representatives, in response to criticisms from members of Congress and US security agencies. The Global Health Council does not believe there is an adequate statutory basis for the proposed vetting system.

The Council believes that the PVS may endanger the safety of USAID partner organization staff, is overly burdensome for USAID's partners, unnecessary, and compromises privacy rights and due process. The Council will continue to work with USAID to recommend constructive and feasible measures to address legitimate concerns. Please see the Council's Statement on PVS for sample language to include in your letter to the USAID Chief Privacy Officer. View statement.

Please send your message opposing PVS as soon as possible. The deadline for comments is Sept. 21, 2007.

Please address your message to:

Mr. Philip M. Heneghan
Chief Privacy Officer
United States Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Office 2.12-003
Washington, D.C. 20523-2120

Please also send copies to your Member of Congress.

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